Scam callers target elderly: police warning

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Elderly people in Burnley are being targeted by a despicable scammer attempting to con them out of thousands of pounds.

Detectives have warned homeowners to be vigilant following a series of fraudulent calls made in recent weeks by a man purporting to be a police officer.

One 73-year-old woman received a call on February 5th informing her that money had been taken out of her account and she needed to put £14,000 into a specified account for security. She was told not to tell her family and to go to the bank to do it. The woman went to her bank where staff became suspicious and reported it to the police. No money was transferred.

In another incident, just four days later, an 82-year-old woman was informed her bank details had been compromised by two men who were in police custody. The offender then persuaded the woman to transfer a total of £9,900 from her current accounts at two separate banks into a “safe” account. The offending account has been frozen by the fraud department at the bank.

A total of 13 incidents have been reported so far in Burnley this month.

The majority of the calls involve a man advising people their bank card or bank account has been compromised and the person should withdraw funds from the relevant account.

He goes on to say the person should then transfer the money into a “safe account” or withdraw it and hand it over to a “police officer”. The man then says the money will need to be checked for fingerprinting before attending the victim’s address and taking their money.

DC Will Hogan said: “These are despicable crimes against vulnerable, elderly victims.

“This con artist has even been going so far as to say there were two men currently in police custody elsewhere in the country for trying to access that person’s bank account.

“He has been extremely plausible, providing a supposed name and police collar number, both of which are false.

“Despite current reports being confined to the Burnley and Preston areas, this offender may try elsewhere and so I am reminding people to be vigilant and if you get this type of phone call, report it to the police, your bank and/or your bank before transferring any money into another account or agreeing to hand any of your cash over.

“People who commit these offences will often target the elderly posing as officials to gain their confidence and trust. No police officer or other official body will ever ask for your bank details or would ever ask you to withdraw or transfer funds.

“If you have an elderly friend or relative, please let them know that this is happening so they can avoid becoming a potential victim.”

Anybody with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or through www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Similarly, you can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk.